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Britain challenges Saudi Arabia over missing journalist

LONDON: The UK’s foreign secretary has told Saudi Arabia that Britain expects urgent answers over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In a phone call to Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Jeremy Hunt warned that “friendships depend on shared values”.
Mr Khashoggi was last seen visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week, and Turkey says he may have been murdered there. Saudi Arabia denies the suggestion.
Taking a tougher line than the Trump administration, a spokesperson for the UK’s Foreign Office said, if media reports surrounding the case were correct, the UK would treat the incident “very seriously.”
Earlier on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said he had not yet spoken to Saudi officials about the journalist’s disappearance.
“I have not. But I will be at some point,” he told reporters. “I know nothing right now. I know what everybody else knows – nothing.”
In a separate development, Mr Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz appealed to the US for help.
In an emotional article in the Washington Post, she wrote: “I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal’s disappearance.”
“We were in the middle of making wedding plans, life plans,” when he vanished, she said.
“Jamal is a valuable person, an exemplary thinker and a courageous man who has been fighting for his principles. I don’t know how I can keep living if he was abducted or killed in Turkey.” Turkey says it will conduct a search of Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said the country was “open to co-operation” and a search of the building could go ahead as part of the investigation. It says the journalist left the consulate shortly after arriving, while Turkey says he was not seen leaving the building.
Ankara is demanding that Saudi Arabia prove he left, while not providing evidence to support the claim he was killed inside. A critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the US and writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post before his disappearance.
A former editor of the al-Watan newspaper and a short-lived Saudi TV news channel, he was for years seen as close to the Saudi royal family. He served as an adviser to senior Saudi officials.

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